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Woods, Leonard

WOODS, LEONARD (1774-1854), American theologian, was born at Princeton, Massachusetts, on the 19th of June 1774. He graduated at Harvard in 1796, and in 1798 was ordained pastor of the Congregational Church at West Newbury. He was prominent among the founders of Andover Theological Seminary, and was its first professor, occupying the chair of Christian theology from 1808 to 1846, and being professor emeritus until hi? death in Andover on the 24th of August 1854. He helped to establish the American Tract Society, the American Education Society, the Temperance Society and the American Board, of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. He was an orthodox Cab/mist and an able dialectician. His principal works (5 vols., Andover, 1849-50) were Lectures on the Inspiration of the Scriptures (1829), Memoirs of American Missionaries (1833), Examination of the Doctrine of Perfection (1841), Lectures on Church Government (1843), and Lectures on Swedenborgianism (1846); he also wrote a History of Andover Seminary (1848), completed by his son.

His son, LEONARD WOODS (1807-1878), was born in West Newbury, Mass., on the 24th of November 1807, and graduated at Union College in 1827 and at Andover Theological Seminary in 1830. His translation of Georg Christian Knapp's Christian Theology (1831-1833) was long used as a text-book in American theological seminaries. He was assistant Hebrew instructor (1832-1833) at Andover, and having been licensed to preach by the Londonderry Presbytery in 1830 was ordained as an evangelist by the Third Presbytery of New York in 1833. In 1834-1837 he edited the newly-established Literary and Theological Review, in which he opposed the " New Haven " theology. After being professor of sacred literature in the Bangor Theological Seminary for three years, he was president of Bowdoin College from 1839 to 1866, and introduced there many important reforms. From June 1867 to September 1868 Dr Woods worked in London and Paris for the Maine Historical Society, collecting materials for the early history of Maine; he induced J. G. Kohl of Bremen to prepare the first volume (1868) of the Historical Society's Documentary History, and he discovered a MS. of Hakluyt's Discourse on Western Planting, which was edited, partly with Woods's notes, by Charles Dean in 1877. He died in Boston on the 24th of December 1878. He was a remarkable linguist, conversationalist and orator, notable for his uncompromising independence, his opinion that the German reformation was a misfortune and that the reformation should have been within the church.

See E. A. Park, Life and Character of Leonard Woods, Jr. (Andover, 1880).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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